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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


You know, I'm not a big believer that last night's election marks some great watershed realignment, that Democrats will now be in power forever and ever, etc, etc.

In two or four years, the economy will get better, we'll be mostly out of Iraq, George Bush will be gone, and people will begin to forget..... and with time, as things get better, people will once again become susceptible to demagoguery on gay marriage, immigration, or whatever.

However, four key things.

1) The Dems will be working from a huge advantage in numbers. (If they lost 20 House seats in 2010 or 2012, they would still hold a huge majority, and the next round of Senate elections are Senators from 2004, a good Republican year.)

2) Nationally, the Dems will have the power of incumbency creating that institutional drag against change. (fundraising, name ID, patronage, etc.)

3) If Dems can hold onto their advantages in Governorships and State Houses through 2010, they are then in charge of redrawing all the state Congressional maps which, as we saw here in Texas, can net substantial House seats.

4) There is an argument for a "new electorate" (although I think it's probably a bit overstated this morning.) However, if that youth vote stays active and stays Dem, which history says it likely will, that will be an electoral force in the decades to come. (Not to mention the increasing Hispanic and African American numbers relative to the overall population.)

Just kinda thinking out loud....


  • The blue states got significantly bluer, the traditional battlegrounds of FL and OH got somewhat bluer, and the red states got less red.

    It's very significant that the Western states that McCain held on to saw big decreases in Republican support. Leaders like McConnell won by only 5 points in a deep-red state.

    So, no it's not a major re-alignment across the board. It's a consolidation for the Democrats. But the GOP is very much looking like a regional Party. Sure, things will change in four years, but as we painfully saw, the media and public sees the election they are in as a reflection of the last one.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 9:28 AM  

  • From the map, I don't see where the pro-business wing of the republican party lives... now that Yankee Republicanism has been suffocated by the social/relig conservatives. It seems the GOP is more concentrated as the anti-government, social conservative, religious fundamentalist party. Any fiscal "conservatism" has bee reduced to mere lust for self enrichment... not exactly conservative fiscal policies.

    Also, despite Prop 8 in CA, I think gay rights, abortion, and immigration will become decreasingly effective wedge issues on the national stage. These will still be effective in solid red states.

    The Dems have an opportunity to move the accepted national social center to a more progressive, tolerant place. Gently nudging -- with reason and a pinch of emotion -- is the key. If the Dems merely pick up the GOP playbook of brute force politics for their own, they will fail politically.

    Just spewing thoughts.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:54 AM  

  • Todd, I think the western states and Virginia are the story.

    And I should have added the regional party bit to this or the GOP civil war post.

    Their national presence will now likely be defined by that southern wing.


    EPM, Texas, California, and NY City. If you look at McCain's fundraising, those are the big states for him. It doesn't constitute a voting base, but that's where GOP business support is. Interesting to see if they can win the GOP civil war without foot soldiers or a good mouthpiece.

    And, I don't think the Dems will publicly go brute force, but I might expect to see some of that in the backrooms and Congressional procedural stuff.

    And I can't stress the money advantage of being the party in power and likely to stay in power.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:43 AM  

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